Nipawin - April 2, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


Brian MacLean is a down to earth economist, and many policy makers and journalists would
benefit a lot if they would subscribe to his free of charge economic newsletter. His articles are
an intelligent critique of the economic matters dealt with in the Canadian newspapers and they
are full of references about related opinions and research.



global rush

In his March 5-March 11 newsletter(2), MacLean criticizes Terence Corcoran(3) of the
National Post for castigating the "new global rush" to "undermine anything that
smacks of intellectual property."




In this respect, we have provided evidence, in one recent article, of the absurdity to protect
Monsanto's intellectual property right over the natural right to work on our own land(4). In
the above mentioned newsletter, MacLean points out that the present monopolies granted to
the big multinational corporations in the form of patents and copyrights are not socially
optimal, and as a consequence, such monopolies are one of the reasons for the present
growing gap between rich and poor countries, and between rich and poor people within one



of patent

Different prominent economists are becoming aware that free trade is not about the free
circulation of goods and services around the world, but about the protection of patents and
copy rights of the big multinationals(5)(6).




Conventionally, free trade is advertised as the breaking of tariffs by different countries for
the free circulation of goods and services, but the reality is far away from this biased
advertisement. In fact, tariffs, in general, would increase the price of a commodity by at
most 20% of the ongoing related price in the country of origin; but as our economies have
shifted to a higher proportion of products and services which can be digitized then the
increase of prices would be irrespective of any country and could be in the order of
thousands times greater than the marginal cost to produce these products and services(7)
(almost zero in digitized products or services).



free trade

As a consequence, contrary to conventional wisdom, free trade is not about free circulation
of goods and services, but more and more about the protection of patents and copyrights
held by the big multinational corporations.
  List of relevant political and economics articles